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Time again rates Bush as 'Person of the Year'

NEW YORK -- After winning reelection and "reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style," President George Bush for the second time was chosen as Time magazine's Person of the Year.

The magazine's editors tapped Bush "for sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes -- and ours -- on his faith in the power of leadership."

Time's 2004 Person of the Year package, on newsstands today, includes an Oval Office interview with Bush, an interview with his father, President George H. W. Bush, and a profile of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser.

In an interview with the magazine, Bush attributed his victory over Democratic candidate John F. Kerry to Bush's foreign policy and the wars he began in Afghanistan and Iraq. "The election was about the use of American influence," Bush said.

After a grueling campaign, Bush remains a polarizing figure in America and around the world, and that's part of the reason he earned the magazine's honor, said Jim Kelly, Time's managing editor.

In the Time article, Bush said he relishes that some people dislike him. "I think the natural instinct for most people in the political world is that they want people to like them," Bush said. "On the other hand, I think sometimes I take kind of a delight in who the critics are."

Bush joins six other presidents who have twice won the magazine's top honor: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower (first as a general), Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald W. Reagan, and William J. Clinton. Franklin D. Roosevelt holds the record with three nods from Time.

Kelly said Bush has changed dramatically since he was named Person of the Year in 2000 after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency.

"He is not the same man," Kelly said. "He's a much more resolute man. He is personally as charming as ever, but I think the kind of face he's shown to the American public is one of much, much greater determination."

The magazine gives the honor to the person who had the greatest impact, good or bad, over the year.

Asked on ABC's "This Week" how Bush reacted when he learned of Time's decision, Andrew Card, White House chief of staff, said the president was "not worried about what pundits might be saying."

Kelly said other candidates included Michael Moore and Mel Gibson, "because in different ways their movies tapped in to deep cultural streams," and political strategist Rove, widely credited with engineering Bush's election win.

In 2001, Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York City, was celebrated for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The American soldier earned the honor last year. In 2002, the magazine tapped Coleen M. Rowley, the FBI agent who wrote a memo on FBI intelligence failures, and Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins, who blew the whistle on Enron and Worldcom.

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